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Time to get ready for spring riding

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Have you been outside lately? (you should try it. It is getting better!) Spring is definitely springing. Some days more than others, but hey, don’t hate! 

Spring riding season is almost upon us. Regardless if you are a seasoned commuter who rides all-season or a fairweather captain of your boat bike, you’ll want to give your ride some much needed LUV to make her run sweetly in the springtime.


1.) Cleaning

The good ole days. (yes, that’s a motorcycle.)

If you’ve been riding through the wintertime, you know that frame is DIRTAY. Grime, leaves, sludge, grease…and its not just cosmetic. Extensive grime buildup on your brakes, drivetrain and derailleurs (the things that move the chain from cog to cog) can make shifting, braking and riding sluggish and even cause permanent damage!
To clean your bike, put it in a repair stand or flip it over onto its handlebars, and wash it with warm soapy water and a sponge or rag. Use a brush to clean off loose debris. If you need to cut through some extra grease, try a solvent cleaner such as simple green, or rubbing alcohol. Scrub off the brakepad residue off the sides of your rims with steel wool or a tough sponge.  You can read more here

After your bike is thoroughly clean, let her dry. Then lubricate the chain and moving parts with a lubricant such as Tri-Flow. You can purchase a small bottle for a few dollars at any bike store.

2.) Replacing brake pads

There are lots of different kinds of brake pads. Make sure you get the right kind of your brakes.

Your brakes wear more quickly during the wintertime due to wetter, grimier conditions. You may find you need to replace your brake pads. Before you do so, however, check your rim for excess wear. A concave rim indicates excessive wear and should be replaced. This blog post has more information on this topic. Come check in with us at the bike shed if you are not sure, or speak to your local mechanic. 
Replacing your brake pads can be tricky if you don’t know how to do it, but start by taking a picture of your brake pad setup (to reference when you are installing the new ones so you get it right), removing your old brake pads, and then using those to buy new ones at your LBS (local bike shop). When you reinstall brake pads, you will likely need more slack in your brake cable if you have been adjusting your barrel adjusters to make up for pad wear. You can also bring your bike (and pads, we do not provide them except for rental bikes) to the bike shed during our open hours and we will assist you in installing them safely. 

When in doubt, ask a mechanic! Brakes are what keep you safe!

3.) Repacking hubs and replacing bearings

Water and grime are tough on the movable parts of your bike. Bearings in your headset, hubs (if they are older or Shimano) and bottom bracket (older bikes, mostly)  may need to be cleaned out, the bearings replaced, and repacked with clean grease to cut down on wear to the inside of the hub. Damaged bottom brackets and hubs can be expensive to replace. Check in with your mechanic to get these parts serviced, especially if there are noises coming from your hubs, pedaling is inexplicably hard, or your headset is too loose (shuddering) or too tight (cannot steer easily or steering locks up)

A cutaway image of a kevlar tire by Vittoria

4.) Replacing your tires

Tires wear faster during the winter, so spring is a good time to check and see if you need to invest in some new shoes. If you are getting a lot of flats, consider investing in tires with a kevlar or other protective belt. You may gain a little roll-resistence, but you will have less flats. If your tire sidewall is cracking, or the tread is completely worn down, get yourself some new kicks. Make sure you buy the correct tire for your wheel size and rim width. Check in with your LBS if you are not sure.

Feel free to check in with the bike shed if you need assistance with your bike!

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